What if I Was Fired After an Injury on the Job?
In South Carolina, you have a duty to report your injury to your employer, who in turn is supposed to file a report with the Workers' Compensation Commission. However, in my more than 35 years of practice as a Spartanburg/Greenville workers' compensation litigation lawyer, I have seen it happen many times that the employer simply refuses to acknowledge the injury and file the report. Employees may be told to get back work if they want to keep their job, they may be told to ice the injury and wait, or employers may refuse to report the injury to their insurance carrier.
There are ways to deal with an uncooperative employer. At the Knie & Shealy Law Offices, I can send a letter to your employer as well as file your report directly with the Workers' Compensation Commission. I will help see to it that you are denied the compensation to which you are entitled.Did Your Employer Deny Your Injury Occurred on the Job?
One common way employers try to dodge responsibility for on-the-job injuries is to say that the employee's injury occurred because of something done away from work, or that he or she had the injury before taking the job. For example:
- The employer says that because there were no witnesses to the workplace accident, it didn't happen at work.
- The employer may say that the type of work an employee does couldn't have resulted in repetitive stress injuries, like carpal tunnel injuries, so the employee must have done something at home to cause it.
- The employer says the employee had suffered back injuries before taking the job and therefore it's a pre-existing medical condition and not eligible for compensation.
These excuses don't hold water. You do not have to have a witness to your accident in order to get compensation. You only need to report the injury to your employer. Furthermore, it's not up to your employer to decide that your job couldn't have caused an injury. A medical doctor will determine that.
As for pre-existing injuries, if you have a pre-existing medical condition that is then aggravated by your working conditions (for example, if you have asthma and the exposure to chemicals in your workplace causes your asthma to worsen), you can indeed file for workers' compensation. When you will run into problems with a pre-existing condition is if you lied about it on your initial job application. As an experienced workers' comp litigation attorney, I can advise you if there may be difficulties in recovering for your aggravated condition.Did Your Employer Retaliate Against You?
South Carolina Code Section 41-1-80 protects workers who have been injured on the job from retaliation. Your employer cannot fire you, demote you, or in other ways retaliate against you because you filed a workers' compensation claim. That doesn't mean some employers won't try it. If you are fired from your job, I will take your case to court for wrongful termination.
What the law cannot do is guarantee that your employer has to keep you if you can no longer do your job. Once you've reached max medical improvement, an assessment will be made about whether your condition allows you to go back to your old job. If you can't do the work you once did, you can be laid off, but the workers' comp system must compensation you for your disability. This is usually a lump-sum payment. Learn more about getting paid for a job-related injury.Contact a Spartanburg & Greenville Retaliatory Discharge Lawyer
If you have been fired after suffering a workplace injury, I am prepared to hold your employer accountable. Contact me, a Spartanburg/Greenville workers' compensation litigation attorney, online. Consultations are free and confidential.